Jessops plc will announce its interim results for the six months ending 30th March 2008 in May 2008. Prior to entering its closed period, the Group today issues a trading statement.
Like for like sales for the 25 weeks to 22nd March 2008 are down 5.1% with total sales down 24.6% reflecting the closure of 81 stores last year. Product margin is slightly ahead of the prior year as a result of the focused use of markdowns together with the benefit of reduced stock levels.
Following the restructuring programme last year, the Board has taken further actions to reduce the cost base and improve the efficiency of the business. These will result in additional savings at Head Office, improved efficiency in store staffing levels and reductions in our supply chain costs.
Good stock management has driven down stocks significantly. On 22nd March 2008 total stocks were £29m, compared to £34m on 6th January 2008 and £51m on 24th March, 2007.
The important summer trading period lies ahead and trading conditions remain challenging, but the actions taken to reduce the cost base and stock levels together with prudent margin management mean that the Board remains confident that the business is on track to meet its expectations for the year ending 30th September 2008.
David Adams, Executive Chairman said:
“Our trading performance reflects the difficult and uncertain environment we operate in and we continue to take actions to reduce the cost base of the business. These actions plus the restructuring activity undertaken in the second half of last year, which caused significant disruption to trading through store closure and stock clearance, should benefit the business as we move into the second half of this year. Our stock levels are significantly down on last year’s level. This has been achieved without affecting product availability."
“The second half of this year also sees the impact of significant amounts of new and innovative products across the range. The Board remains confident that the Group is on the right track to build sustainable profitability.”
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